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Does the Debt Tax Shield Distort Ownership Efficiency?

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Abstract

The tax laws of most developed countries are debt biased since firms can deduct interest on debt but not on equity. This bias is known to distort investment decisions. However, less is known about how the debt tax shield affects the ownership of assets when bidders differ financial expertise and thus in optimal use of leverage. We show that the debt tax shield need not always distort ownership efficiency. Assets end up with the socially preferred owner when differences in financial and productive expertise between bidders are small and better financial expertise reduces expected bankruptcy costs.

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  • Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Tåg, Joacim, 2010. "Does the Debt Tax Shield Distort Ownership Efficiency?," Working Paper Series 841, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 22 Sep 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0841
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    Keywords

    Acquisitions; Capital Gains Tax; Corporate Tax; LBOs; Mergers and Acquisitions; Ownership; Private Equity; Tax Shields;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • L19 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Other
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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